Romeo X Juliet – 20
With the crops are withering because of the poor soil, Romeo tells the men to replant and goes to see the old man. After finding the old man at the ruins, Romeo tells him about the situation, and the old man recites him the song of Escalus and talks about man’s sins and the earth dying. Romeo doesn’t want to give up, so the old man tells him to shoulder Juliet’s fate. When Romeo returns to his village, Giovanni informs him of the Capulet rebels occupying Neo Verona. The guys are aware that Romeo is worried about Juliet and urge him to go to her, so Romeo sets out for the city. Over in Neo Verona, the nobles have barricaded themselves off along with the military police, but Francisco has learned that there are those who want to help the Capulets. After the strategy meeting he’s in with Conrad, Curio, and Juliet gets interrupted by the arrival of Vittorio and his wife, Juliet and Antonio accompany them home to Cordelia and Benvolio. Later that night, Juliet notices that she’s got a marking on her chest and wonders if it’s a bruise, but her thoughts get interrupted when Cordelia brings her a change of clothes. The two girls talk briefly about how Benvolio has changed and is able to do chores now before Cordelia urges Juliet to go to bed.
The following day, Romeo arrives at Neo Verona and informs the guards that he’s returned to persuade his father to accept unconditional surrender. The guards won’t let him through, and it’s not until Juliet shows up at the gate and hears his plea to be allowed to talk to his father that Romeo is permitted through. Around this time, Montague is holding a session of parliament with some nobles who are unhappy with the situation, so he proposes the extreme measure of burning all the commoners so that they can’t help the rebels. Initially, only Mercutio stands up in agreement, so Montague grabs a sword, kills the assembly speaker, and takes over the proceedings. When he puts the proposal up for vote a second time, everyone stands up in agreement out of fear and resignation, and Montague places Mercutio in charge of the task. Romeo arrives soon after and is shocked to see his father carrying a bloody sword, but Mercutio immediately orders Romeo to go back to the mines and claims that Montague having only him as a son in enough. Romeo is surprised to hear this, but Montague then dismisses Mercutio and questions what Romeo wants.
When Romeo asks his father to give up the position of grand duke, Montague thinks that his son has lost his mind, but Romeo replies that it’s his father who’s gone mad. He notes that his father doesn’t have anyone on his side anymore and feels that Montague isn’t qualified to be grand duke. Montague laughs at him and suddenly thrusts his sword towards Romeo’s head, but when his son doesn’t even flinch, Montague decides to show him the truth of this world. He then takes Romeo to Escalus and reveals that it’s the tree that controls the prosperity of their world, including enriching the soil with its roots. Without Escalus, the ground would dry up, the forests would wither, and wildlife would die out. Montague claims that he’s been protecting the tree for the sake of the people of Neo Verona, and he thinks Romeo should take over after him – that’s the bonds of his love. Romeo, however, feels that his father is a pathetic person, and before his father can really get mad at him, the ground starts shaking. After seeing one of Escalus’ branches fall off, Montague runs further into the room to find Ophelia, and Romeo is soon cut off from his father by falling pieces of rock.
All across Neo Verona, the ground is shaking, and in the ruins that the old man is watching over, the tree roots turn gray. At the same time, Juliet is experiencing a deep pain in her chest while visiting her parents’ grave, and Ophelia suddenly appears. She says that Escalus’ throbbing is about to end, and when Juliet questions what that tree is, Ophelia explains that the floating continent of Neo Verona was long ago supported by twin trees. However, with greedy mankind’s sins, one of the trees rotted away, leaving only Escalus to support the world. Thus, Escalus can not be allowed to perish. As she approaches Juliet and stretches her hand out to Juliet’s chest, Ophelia talks of purifying sins and wants Juliet to offer her body for the sake of the earth’s harmony. The seed of Escalus has been planted inside of Juliet, and Ophelia wants her to save the world.
Ahhh, it’s all coming together now. Instead of the play’s story where the two lovers kill themselves, it appears that what they’re doing here is having Juliet be the chosen one to sacrifice herself to replace the dying Escalus and save Neo Verona. This makes even more sense when you remember back to episode 13 when Ophelia brought Juliet into Escalus’ room, and she touched Juliet’s forehead and talked about something not budding yet. They’ve already set up Romeo’s potential end too with the old man suggesting that he shoulder Juliet’s fate, so I could see an ending where both lovers end up as trees or something, perhaps like the twin trees that the continent originally had. If all that does end up happening, I wonder if they’re going to be changing the suicide-because-of-grief-and-love from the original play to be sacrifice-for-protecting-the-people-of-Neo-Verona for this. Hopefully that won’t happen because it would shift the fundamental story away from being a lovers’ tragedy. Either way though, I’m really interested to see what happens in the last four episodes.